I wanted to give more detail from my mountainboarding adventure yesterday. First of all, it's got it's risks, but mountainboarding is far easier than skateboarding and if someone as clumsy and uncoordinated as I can ride for a few seconds without falling, anyone can.
The key is having lots of equipment: helmet, wrist guards, elbow and knee pads. My board had a secret weapon- a hand brake! It would have been way more brutal and terrifying without it. Nat and Brookelynn are more experienced and badass, so they cruise on boards without brakes. They are also patient, wonderful teachers who know the best areas for beginners. I would have never considered it otherwise.
The terrain is far different in the country on mountain biking trails with less traffic verses asphalt or a skate park. Mountainboards have chunky, rubber wheels that don't spin as fast. When you move off the gravel into the grass or dirt, you slow down dramatically, and have a pretty soft landing. If you do fall, keeping your feet strapped in the board is far safer than trying to get out of the board (just like snowboarding). Leaning back into a fall causes you to fall on your butt, a much better option than leaning forward, which can make you flip and fall on your head.
Staying low gives you the most control, slows you down and can help you ride through most anything.
And for beginners, a hand brake can give peace of mind and extra confidence to take on a steeper hill.